don't use baby oil on your horse for shedding

Don’t use baby oil to make your horse shed.

  • So I heard about this a few years ago, and it’s really bothered me. Basically, in an attempt to get your horse to shed all of his winter coat overnight, some people coat their horse in baby oil and then wipe or wash the next day. Apparently, the baby oil makes all of the hair come out. Just because you CAN, doesn’t mean you SHOULD.

So my gut reaction to this scenario is NO. But I did some research, then read a bunch of forums, then talked to three Vets, and my reaction is now actually OH HECK NO, NO WAY, NO HOW, DON’T EVEN THINK OF IT NO.

bottle of baby oil

Reasons to avoid using baby oil to help your horse shed:

  • The hair loss is so extreme that the horse is bald. Um…what kind of problems can this lead to? Barnyard bullying, sunburn, tack sores, shame, infections?


  • The hair loss is patchy – bald in some places.

  • The mess was unbelievable – which I believe.

  • No amount of shampoo was able to get the oil off, so a switch was made to detergents. This is not only a particular peeve of mine, but it will also literally strip your horse’s skin of all-natural sebum – his first line of defense in the immune system. So now your horse is bald and his skin stripped dry.

  • The skin was sore and raw from the post-oiling bathing.

  • Sunburn from oil that wasn’t fully removed.

  • Allergic reaction to the oil.

Again – I did find some positive results, but yikes.

baby oil warning on the bottle

So on to the vets. This is what I heard straight from the equine vets:

  • Baby oil isn’t toxic, so there’s little risk there. NOTE – it can cause allergic reactions.


  • Sunburn is a top concern.

  • Any residue left might create a nice warm environment for bacterial infections, like rain rot.

I totally know shedding season can be a pain – but wouldn’t it be a bigger pain to have a patchy bald horse? How does the oil know which follicles to clear out? Is the oil that smart and it only removes the winter hair and not the summer hair coming in? How much oil do you need? A few bottles or a 55-gallon drum? And then how much shampoo? How expensive could this get? I could go on, but you know that already. If you are in that much of a hurry, skip the risks and just clip your horse instead.

PS – If I have (unfortunately) given you an idea that you want to try, know that I am not responsible for any outcome, good or bad, of a baby oiled horse. It’s on you.